What are the dates?
Dates are January 21st-February 9th.
Rafi will also be organizing an optional 4 day trip from February 9th-13th in which we will go stay at a cozy, family run Maasai camp, get fed delicious food, hang out with monkeys and go on wildlife safaris. It's a really fun way to finish off the trip and everyone that has done it in the past three trips has loved it. There is an additional cost for this.
How much does the trip cost?
I will be asking each American participant to contribute $1750. This would cover the cost of most of your food, transportation within Kenya, accommodations, group gear, park fees and other miscellaneous costs while we are in Kenya. This amount will also cover all of the costs for one Maasai woman to participate. In addition, you will be responsible for your own air fare to Nairobi, which could be anywhere from $900-$1400 depending on when you purchase it. (So figure a total $2500-$3000 with airfare). There will be other additional personal costs that I’ve tried to outline in the cost breakdown document.
What gear do I need?
For those who express serious interest I will be able to send a suggested gear list based on my experience there. It would include all of your basic backpacking needs, clothes for hot and cold weather, plus a some used gear that one Maasai woman could borrow for the climb.
Where is Mount Kenya and how high is it?
Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest on the African continent (next to Kiliminjaro). There are three summits, two of which are long technical routes, and the third (called Point Lenana) which is a non-technical peak. We would be climbing to Pt. Lenana, which is approximately 16,500 feet in elevation and the itinerary takes six days if all goes well. Most people who climb this mountain hire porters, cooks and guides. We will be doing the whole thing self-supported.
How hard is it?
No technical experience is necessary to participate in this trip. (Obviously the Maasai women have none). However, I would love to recruit women who have some mountain/backpacking experience so that I can have help and support with instruction and general planning. It is important to be in strong physical condition, since it is a steep climb and the altitude we'll be climbing to is significant.
Where will we be staying?
While in Nairobi at various waypoints of the trip we stay at the Khweza bed and breakfast. It’s a wonderful respite and their staff are super helpful. The Masaai community we spend time in is called “Olgulului” and is located on tribal land in the south of Kenya. The closest town (one that you can see on a map) is Namanga, which is in Kenya right on the Tanzanian border, very close to Mt. Kilimanjaro and Amboseli National Park. Mount Kenya National Park is north of Nairobi.
What language do they speak (How will we communicate)?
Many Maasai speak English because it is one of the national languages of Kenya. If they have been to school at some point in their lives then they have studied English and Swahili. Their native language is Ki-Maasai. To date, Maasai women are less likely to have been to school than men, and the older they are the less likely it is that they speak English. I already have a few Maasai women in mind to take part in the Mt. Kenya portion of the project and most of them speak very good English. A lot of the other women we'd be interacting with while in the village do not speak any English at all. For the most part communication in East Africa is pretty easy because English is so widely spoken.